Elgg, funding, and the state of e-learning

Alas, Elgg was unsuccessful in its bid to the Andrew W Mellon Foundation Awards for Technology Collaboration, which awarded $650,000 in prizes on Monday. I’ve got to confess that I’m a little disappointed that some of the awards included things like a $50,000 prize for translating Sakai into Catalan, and for “providing consistent internationalisation support”.

Not that including internationalisation into Sakai isn’t an important thing to do (for Sakai users). It’s just, $50,000 bears absolutely no relation to the cost of doing it, if it’s done properly. Elgg contains robust internationalisation support using existing and well-maintained open source libraries, and you can translate it by filling in fields on a web page. Our Catalan translation isn’t completed, and it would be great if a Catalan speaker could help out if they had a free afternoon – but I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to pay you fifty grand to do so. That amount vastly exceeds the amount of money that’s supported Elgg development since it started March 2004.

Another interesting award was $50,000 to the Open University here in the UK for work on Moodle. This is, after all, a drastically underfunded effort, which currently only has

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